Weighing Dates

Weighing Dates.

From the cafe, we crossed to the opposite side of the Golden Horn, to inspect a Turkish graveyard. Moslem cemeteries are almost invariably shaded by a grove of cypress trees. It was a custom of the Turk when they first came to the Bosporus, to plant beside each new-made grave a cypress tree. To some extent this admirable custom still prevails. Hence, many of their cemeteries, especially in the Asiatic suburb, Scutari, are veritable forests, miles in length, which spread above the dead a canopy of leaves. These, to the Turks, are favorite places for promenades, and even for picnics; and on a pleasant day one may see hundreds of them here, walking about beneath the trees, as if in a vast cathedral, or smoking tranquilly beside some grave.

Story Telling In A Cafe

Story-Telling In A Cafe.

A Turkish Cemetery

A Turkish Cemetery.

"The cypresses of Scutari In stern magnificence look down On the bright lake and stream of sea, And glittering theatre of the town; Above the throng of rich kiosks, Above the towers in triple tire, Above the domes of loftiest mosques, These pinnacles of death aspire."

Among these cypresses fly many birds, called pelkovans, whose melancholy cries have given rise to the singular superstition that they are lost souls, or, more pathetic still, the restless spirits of unhappy Turkish women who have died childless. In a Turkish cemetery each grave is usually marked by two tall, marble tombstones, one at the head, the-other at the foot. On these, two angels (so the Moslem thinks) will seat themselves at the last day to judge the soul of the deceased. A tombstone which denotes the grave of a man is always crowned either with a turban or a fez, carved from the marble of the Marmora. The monuments of women are ornamented with flowers, chiseled in the pure white stone. On all of them are epitaphs, inscribed in letters which are frequently raised and gilded. The tombstones which are surmounted with turbans have the disadvantage of presenting, when seen in a dim light, a grotesque resemblance to intoxicated human beings. When left uncared for for many years, they topple about, and incline to every possible angle, or else fall prone upon the ground, as if fatigued by their long struggle with gravitation. In fact, where some of the turbans, or fezzes, have been broken off, they look like decapitated bodies, - presenting a shocking, yet laughable, appearance of neglect. The Turks, by the way, are always buried in great haste; for they believe that the dead actually suffer until their bodies are committed to the tomb. Strange, is it not? Deliberate and slow in life, the only hurry in which the Turk is ever seen is when he is going to his grave!

In Scutari

In Scutari.

The Bosporus (Asiatic Side)

The Bosporus (Asiatic Side).

At the extremity of the Golden Horn lies Eyoub, - a tranquil suburb of the great metropolis. It has one street which every Moslem looks upon as sacred: -in fact, so sacred, that up to the present time no Christian, even of the highest rank, has been allowed to enter it, or step within the pure, white, marble mosque at its extremity. For here is buried Eyoub, the standard-bearer of Mohammed, who, only forty years after the Prophet's death, was killed in the first and unsuccessful attack of the Moslems on Constantinople, nearly eight centuries before the final conquest of the city by the Turks. Within this mosque every Sultan is solemnly inaugurated into sovereignty by having that hero's sword girded on his thigh. Then, with imposing pageantry, the monarch, followed by his glittering court, comes down the sacred path between some gilded tombs of royalty, until he reaches an irregular marble block set in the centre of the street. On this he steps to mount a snow-white horse, which bears him in triumph to his palace on the Bosporus.

A Woman Of Scutari

A Woman Of Scutari.

A Sacred Street Eyoub

A Sacred Street-Eyoub.